Gujarat Lions Smith Raina
Dwayne Smith (2nd R) will be a vital player for the Gujarat Lions, while captain Suresh Raina (R) needs to step up. Pictured: Gujarat Lions celebrate a wicket during their IPL 2016 match against the Mumbai Indians, May 21, 2016.IANS

The Gujarat Lions will still be wondering "if only AB had not been in that kind of form," after falling short of reaching the IPL 2016 final thanks to some brilliance from RCB's AB De Villiers. However, they need to shake that "if only" feeling away and concentrate on beating the Sunrisers Hyderabad, who come into this Qualifier 2 on the back of an impressive win over KKR.

Staring at an exit at the first time of asking in the IPL 2016 playoffs, the Sunrisers bowlers did a splendid job to nullify the KKR batsmen's threat and put their team into Qualifier 2, which, essentially, is a semifinal.

RCB are the team that lie in wait in the final in Bengaluru, but to book that flight to South India, SRH and GL need to perform on the night at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi on Friday.

After an iffy batting outing, with only Dwayne Smith doing anything of note, the Gujarat Lions bowlers did everything right, apart from getting De Villiers out, with the South African going on to score a match-winning 79. GL will know they can play a lot better, particularly with the bat, and if they do that, they will have a really good chance of going through to the final and setting up an RCB rematch.

To do that they need to pick the right playing XI. If they feel someone like a James Faulkner could be handy as an all-rounder on the Kotla wicket, then captain Suresh Raina and coach Brad Hodge need to make the difficult decision of dropping Aaron Finch or maybe even Brendon McCullum. However, Finch has won GL a lot of games in IPL 2016, and it would be a little cruel to keep him out for this particular game, especially when he has the ability to win the match single-handedly, while the same goes for McCullum as well.

Those, of course, are the difficult decisions that a captain and coach have to make, but Finch and McCullum are likely to stay in the playing XI, especially considering Faulkner has not exactly convinced this season. Bringing in a pure bowler like Dale Steyn is the other option, and the South African will be raring to go against his former team, but, barring a late injury, GL are likely to stick with the four overseas players of Finch, McCullum, Smith and Dwayne Bravo.

In the Indian part of the lineup, though, the Gujarat Lions might make a change, with Shadab Jakati having a match to forget at the Chinnaswamy on Tuesday. Jakati went for 45 runs in his three overs against RCB, and with Pravin Tambe and Shivil Kaushik the other options, it would not be a surprise to see one of the latter two getting the nod ahead of the left-arm orthodox.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad do not need to worry too much about making changes to their playing XI. Captain David Warner and coach Tom Moody made the difficult decision of keeping Kane Williamson and Eoin Morgan out of the playing XI and going with Ben Cutting for the last match, and while the Australian did not make an impact with the bat, he was excellent with the ball against KKR, finishing with figures of 3-0-14-1. Those all-round skills will probably ensure Cutting stays in the playing XI for this Qualifier 2 against the Gujarat Lions.

SRH will, again, hope Yuvraj Singh, who played a vital 44 in the Eliminator, settles the middle order nicely, while Deepak Hooda showed signs of promise, promise that needs to be converted into big scores.

In the bowling, Bipul Sharma only got two overs to bowl, but the left-hander struck two crucial sixes in the first innings, which pushed the SRH score beyond 160. That all-round contribution should mean that he keeps his place in the team ahead of Karn Sharma.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the leader with the ball in the win over KKR, and with Mustafizur Rahman and Barinder Sran contributing as well, Warner has a settled bowling lineup, a lineup he will hope comes to the forefront, again, when Qualifier 2 comes into play.

Expected playing XI: Gujarat Lions: Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina (C), Dinesh Karthik, Dwayne Smith, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Eklavya Dwivedi, Praveen Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tambe.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (C), Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, Deepak Hooda, Ben Cutting, Naman Ojha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Bipul Sharma, Barinder Sran, Mustafizur Rahman.

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